116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
THE DEPTH CHART
TIGHT END (END LINE)
1. Ray Hamilton, sr., 6-5, 252; 2. Henry Krieger Coble, jr., 6-4, 250
TIGHT END (H-BACK)
1. Jake Duzey, jr., 6-4, 245; 2. George Kittle, so., 6-4, 230
Jon Wisnieski, fr, 6-5, 235 (injured); Peter Pekar, fr., 6-4, 235
Ray Hamilton waited for his chance to become Iowa's leading tight end. This year, the senior from Strongsville, Ohio, has that opening.
'I love the opportunity,” Hamilton said. 'I know as far as me, when my number's called, I just want to go out there and raise some hell and do my job, whether it's put my hand in the ground run blocking or catching passes.”
Hamilton played on special teams as a true freshman in 2011 and has caught 11 passes for 130 yards in his Iowa career. He competed behind C.J. Fiedorowicz the last two years and Allen Reisner in 2011. Both tight ends are now in the NFL.
'Ray Hamilton is a guy, in my opinion, that is probably better than we think maybe he is,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. 'Ray's made some nice plays for us. He's done some really good things, and I think we've seen him grow last spring.”
'He's definitely our top blocker,” fellow tight end George Kittle said. 'He's a really, really excellent route runner and that's something he's really improved on in the past years of his game. He's the leader of our group so he's a big part of us.
THE OTHER GUYS
Jake Duzey, George Kittle and Henry Krieger Coble all will play a vital role this year alongside Hamilton. Iowa opened games with at least two tight ends eight times last year. Three times Iowa started three tight ends.
Duzey, who led returning tight ends with 19 catches for 270 yards and two touchdowns, started the last seven games of the season. Hamilton opened four times and Kittle picked up one start. Krieger Coble never started but played in every game last year.
'Henry, he might not be the fastest, but he has the best hands I've ever seen in my life,” Kittle said. 'He can literally catch anything you throw at him. He's one of the only guys who doesn't wear gloves. He's a Dallas Clark-type of guy. He's a really, really efficient run blocker.
'Duzey, he's bigger, faster. Me and Duzey are pretty similar. He's got 10 pounds on me. But we have speed, good hands and we spread the field. That's what we do.”
Kittle is known for running a wheel route, where he heads to flat and turns up the field. His opponents caught on throughout the season.
'The first couple times it worked,” he said. 'After that the defense said, '46, watch the wheel route.' Our coaches realized that, too, so they put me in first for a run play, not the same thing every single time I get in.”
THE OLD GUY
Iowa's tight end pipeline to the NFL delivered yet another shipment this spring, with the Houston Texans drafting C.J. Fiedorowicz in the third round.
Iowa has five tight ends currently on NFL rosters after Dallas Clark announced his retirement this summer. It's an annual position of strength for the Hawkeyes, and that holds true this year as well.
'Not to minimize anytime you lose an NFL caliber player, which C.J. certainly was, that's hard to replace, but the good news is we have a good core group there,” Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said. 'The other thing, as you know, we like to use multiple tight ends in our attack, and I don't see that changing unless we don't have enough players out there. But I think we have four guys that we have confidence in coming out of the spring. All four of those players, I thought, improved.”
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